Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister showered praise on Shohei Otani after watching the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace featured in an American news program.
Otani, who is working his way back from a torn left hamstring, was featured on “60 Minutes” this spring.
“The only thing I know about him is what I saw on (60 Minutes),” Banister was quoted saying by dallasnews.com on Friday.
“Inside (the show), they showed a tremendous athlete with a big arm who could really hit and hit it a long way.
“This is a premier athlete that’s a baseball player. He looked like a special person who really loved to play the game. Big fastball. He can really hit them.”
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Josh Boyd, spent Thursday in Japan watching the 22-year-old Otani go through a workout,” according to the report.
They could not watch him pitch. The two-way star has been out since April 8 with the hamstring injury he suffered running the bases. He is also nursing a bad right ankle that kept him out of the World Baseball Classic in March.
“The Rangers are considering a future in which they don’t have (ace Yu) Darvish, in which they possibly become trading-deadline sellers and then pursue Otani as a way to accelerate the rebuilding process,” said the report.